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BusINess » Transportation

Archives for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Rail tsunami could swamp NWI in coming decades

Developments in far off lands could have a big impact on everyone’s drive to work in Northwest Indiana, with the number of freight trains lumbering through the region expected to double by 2035.

That is because a historic shift in shipping patterns has the potential to hit the East Coast with an “Asian tsunami” of seaborne freight over the next two decades, according to freight experts. Much of that freight will make its way to Chicago and the Midwest via a 15-mile-wide rail corridor in Northwest Indiana.
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LaHood: Rail means jobs

Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, listens to U.S. Rep., Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., talk to media Thursday after the Rail Delivers Jobs summit at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, listens to U.S. Rep., Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., talk to media Thursday after the Rail Delivers Jobs summit at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood made an impassioned pitch Thursday to 300 Northwest Indiana business leaders to become partners with the Obama administration when it comes to high-speed rail.

“If Indiana gets its act together, you could be a dominant player in this plan in this region of the country,” LaHood told them at a Rail Delivers Jobs summit in Chesterton.

Getting the five-year reauthorization of the federal transportation bill passed by Congress, with the Obama administration’s $53 billion request for high-speed rail intact, will be key to getting the job done, LaHood said.
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Rail summit to highlight freight, high-speed, commuter

The United States’ top transportation official is coming to Chesterton to boost freight, passenger and high-speed rail as the solution to rebuilding the U.S. economy.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will be the keynote speaker at the Rail Delivers Jobs summit on Thursday at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton.

“It’s unusual that a U.S. cabinet secretary comes to Northwest Indiana,” said Rex Richards, executive director of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. “And it’s very significant that he is coming to talk about the key issue of rail, which is an important part of our total economic development program.”
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Officials give preview of Volt, Think City cars

A 2011 Chevrolet Volt sits in front of Avalon Manor in Hobart on Tuesday as part of the South Shore Clean Cities annual meeting. A Think City car also was on display as part of the preview of electric vehicles. Automaker representatives touted the economic and environmental benefits of the vehicles. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan/The Times.)

A 2011 Chevrolet Volt sits in front of Avalon Manor in Hobart on Tuesday as part of the South Shore Clean Cities annual meeting. A Think City car also was on display as part of the preview of electric vehicles. Automaker representatives touted the economic and environmental benefits of the vehicles. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan/The Times.)

Two new electric vehicles made their 2011 Northwest Indiana debut Tuesday at the South Shore Clean Cities annual meeting.

The Chevrolet Volt and the Elkhart-made Think City were parked outside Avalon Manor for guests to view and test-drive. Inside, representatives from the manufacturers touted the economic and environmental benefits of the vehicles.

Larry Speicher, General Motors regional manager, said the marketing strategy for the Volt is “more car than electric.”
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Airport continues to negotiate with railroads

Negotiations continue with railroads to move tracks for runway expansion at the Gary/Chicago International Airport, while plans for that phase are moving from concept into engineering design.

Members of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority approved the release of funds for those two activities at their meeting Thursday.

The board approved spending an additional $75,000 for the services of Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that specializes in railroad negotiations and legal matters. Read the rest of this entry »


Ford targets social media

A Ford F-150 is displayed Wednesday during the 2011 Chicago Auto Show media preview at McCormick Place in Chicago. Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday it will focus on social media and other new advertising strategies for 2011 vehicles. (Photograph by Thomas Quinn/The Times.)

A Ford F-150 is displayed Wednesday during the 2011 Chicago Auto Show media preview at McCormick Place in Chicago. Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday it will focus on social media and other new advertising strategies for 2011 vehicles.
(Photograph by Thomas Quinn/The Times.)

Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday it will focus on social media and other new advertising strategies for 2011 vehicles.

Jim Farley, marketing chief for Ford, told the crowd at the Chicago Auto Show media preview that the only media that grew in 2009 and 2010 was online and mobile, and that information is changing Ford’s marketing campaigns.

“With 500 million people on Facebook, we can reach more potential customers in a more personal way,” Farley said.
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Obama’s goal for high speed rail has Ind., Ill. advocates smiling

High-speed trains are shown in the Part-Dieu train station in Lyon, central France. The Indiana High Speed Rail Association is pushing for a “signature” high speed rail project for Indiana, such as a Chicago to Indianapolis to Cincinnati route via a high-speed rail station at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, file)

High-speed trains are shown in the Part-Dieu train station in Lyon, central France. The Indiana High Speed Rail Association is pushing for a “signature” high speed rail project for Indiana, such as a Chicago to Indianapolis to Cincinnati route via a high-speed rail station at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, file)

Advocates for high-speed rail in the Midwest received new hope Tuesday when President Barack Obama set a goal of providing 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years. For Illinois, that means routes where trains reach 220 miles per hour.

With a goal of putting 35 million people within a three-hour trip to Chicago, the Midwest High Speed Rail Association advocates building four bullet train routes. It also hopes existing Amtrak service will be modernized to bring trains up to speeds of at least 90 miles per hour by 2020.
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Meet the Rookies!

A host of all-new vehicles hits the market for 2011 with names that may be unfamiliar to the uninitiated. Meet the new kids.

Since it’s hard to tell the players without a scorecard, here’s a rundown of the brand new models with never-before-seen nameplates that are making their major league debuts at dealers’ showrooms for the 2011 model year:
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Martin Luther King bridge replacement bids rejected

The Martin Luther King Jr. Drive bridge is closed over the the Borman Expressway in Gary. Cracks are visible from the east side of the bridge. (Photograph by Heather Eidson, File/The Times.)

The Martin Luther King Jr. Drive bridge is closed over the the Borman Expressway in Gary. Cracks are visible from the east side of the bridge. (Photograph by Heather Eidson, File/The Times.)

All bids for replacing the Martin Luther King Drive bridge in Gary have been rejected after coming in above engineers estimates, said INDOT spokesman Jim Pinkerton.

INDOT will now re-evaluate what its next steps should be when it comes to replacing the bridge, Pinkerton said.

INDOT closed the six-year-old bridge May 19 after inspectors found extensive cracking on the bridge deck, cracks in the bridge beams and cracking in the beam flange. INDOT engineers said the cracked concrete led them to doubt the bridge’s load-carrying capacity.

Superior Construction of Gary, the bridge’s builder, and RQAW of Indianapolis, its designer, have been suspended from seeking state contracts because of the bridge’s premature failure. But both those suspensions are on hold pending appeals.

Superior Construction was the low bidder on building a replacement bridge with a bid of $2,992,887. Three other construction companies bid more.

The Indiana Department of Transportation has pledged to replace the bridge and have it open by the end of the year.


Gary airport in dispute with neighboring business

The Gary/Chicago International Airport is preparing to take legal action against a scrapyard where it alleges frequent explosions are rattling airport tenants.

The situation is particularly critical for Boeing Corp., whose huge hangar is the closest airport facility to the scrapyard run by Summit Inc., 6901 Chicago Ave., airport lawyer Patrick Lyp told the Airport Authority Board at Thursday’s meeting.

“No. 1, we value all our tenants, and Boeing is high on that list,” Lyp said. “And we are concerned for them and for their employees.”
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